Nick Bruel’s Bad Kitty series won’t be as delightful to adults who don’t like cats as it will be to those of us who live with these opinionated four-footed beasts. I expect that most young children will like the books though. The Bad Kitty series combines two of the best things: a silly story and learning about animals. The books also teach (without being boring or moralising) how to interact with cats on their own terms.
My favourite of the three books I read was, without competition, Bad Kitty Gets a Bath. Having had to give a cat a bath — and clip their nails, and take them to the vet, and give them medication (on the eyeball!) — I could fully appreciate Bruel’s hilarious and grave warnings about all these things. Bruel’s attention to the details of where cats hide and the sorts of angry noises they make while wet make the book amazingly funny. (It’s wonderful to think that the cats have been cursing menacingly at me this entire time.) Bad Kitty vs Uncle Murray was my second favourite. It explains why cats get scared of people, and why it’s important to respect their reactions (good lessons for young people). Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty, meanwhile, taught me the word “crepuscular” (“most active at dawn and dusk”, 14).
These books are making their way to my young nephew, who lives with cats and will probably like the books even more than I did. Meanwhile, I’ll get back to The Rover, which is nowhere near as fun.
13 April 2013 ~ Hamilton
Works Cited and Bibliography
Bruel, Nick. Bad Kitty Gets a Bath. New York: Square Fish, 2008.
—–. Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty. New York: Square Fish, 2009.
—–. Bad Kitty vs Uncle Murray. New York: Square Fish, 2010.